1st Edition

The Dark Side of Marketing Communications Critical Marketing Perspectives

By Tim Hill, Pierre McDonagh Copyright 2021
    134 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    134 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What fuels capitalism and what stops it from collapsing? Does marketing communications support and sustain the economic and political status quo?

    This book is not about describing the ways in which businesses can optimize the messages they put across or about adding to the marketing communicator’s toolkit. This book argues that marketing communications plays an increasingly important role in bolstering contemporary capitalism. Drawing on conceptualizations of the ‘market’ from political economy and sociology, it focusses on five logics that underpin and sustain the form of capitalism in which we live: the logic of competition, the logic of sustainability, the logic of individualism, the logic of objectivity, and the logic of distraction. It does this by exploring those arenas which are increasingly dominated by the communicative activities of business: sport, CSR, social media, statistics, and entertainment.

    Bringing theories from marketing and consumer research, sociology, cultural studies, technology and media studies to bear on marketing communications, this book is necessary reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students and academics who wish to understand the broader role of marketing communications in the reproduction of contemporary capitalism.

    1. Introduction: Where are we now?

    2. Decoding the market logic

    3. Sport: Winners, logics, and the logic of competition

    4. CSR: Corporate utopias, wishful thinking, and the logic of sustainability

    5. Success, status and the logic of individualism

    6. Social progress, economic decline, and the logic objectivity

    7. Boredom: Digitised ‘24/7’ connectivity and the logic of distraction

    8. Afterword: How does this end?


    Tim Hill is Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bath, UK.

    Pierre McDonagh is Professor of Critical Marketing and Society at the University of Bath, UK.

    "This book could not be more timely, or more necessary, for our times."

    Eileen Fischer, Professor of Marketing and Anne & Max Tanenbaum Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at Schulich School of Business, Canada

    "This is a must read for anyone who wants to be informed about all of the implications of marketing communications, not just the positive contributions of marketing to society otherwise espoused, as well as understand the actions of corporations in and the character and potential future of ‘globalized capitalism’. My congratulations to the authors for providing insightful analyses!"

    Fuat Firat, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, USA

    "Marketing Communications should be among the most interesting, captivating and intriguing topics of the marketing syllabus but students and scholars alike are often forced to turn to the wider social sciences, media studies and cultural theory to develop thorough and worthwhile insights. In The Dark Side of Marketing Communications Hill and McDonagh set out an ambitious and engaging agenda that shows how marketers can engage with some of the most important and topical questions of our times. Despite the critical and at times pessimistic evaluation of the current practices and processes of marketing communications the book suggests that while the Dark Side is certainly powerful and seductive it is also full of contradictions and crisis. This is where we should look for progressive opportunities to develop more sustainable, collective, collaborative and less boringly distracting forms of both marketing and communication."

    James Fitchett, Professor of Marketing and Consumption, University of Leicester School of Business, UK

    "McDonagh is the master of dark marketing. Hill’s a rising star of the same. Individually brilliant, together they’re bedazzling. Bright, breezy and bundles of fun, this is the book for you. Especially if you’re afraid of the dark."

    Stephen Brown, Professor of Marketing Research, Ulster University, UK